Rebuilding Alliance’s current project, Rebuilding to Remain, seeks to provide a future for a Palestinian village called Al Aqaba. We plan to build 30 affordable, colorful, eco-friendly homes for the village, and construction has already begun!
In July 2011, Al Aqaba hosted a charrette, a design meeting that brought architects and engineers together with the village’s residents. They spent a productive week planning and agreeing on designs that suit both the villagers and the village. Soon, villagers approved proof of concept designs, and the architects finalized all drawings and plans.
The next step: raising funds to begin construction! With donations from Americans, Israelis, and hundreds of individuals around the world, construction began in June 2012.
Before construction began, Rebuilding Alliance and the Al Aqaba Cooperative Assembly for Housing Displaced signed an historic mortgage loan agreement to finance the first three homes. This mortgage agreement is Islamic-compliant, but that is not what makes it unique! This mortgage loan suspends repayment if the home is demolished, until occupancy is restored. This means the soon-to-be residents of the Rebuilding to Remain homes, who have put forward much of their live savings, don’t need continue mortgage payments if the IDF demolishes their homes.
This project finally breaking ground is a huge victory for Al Aqaba, and for peace! Unfortunately, though, Al Aqaba still faces some difficulty. The pretext for demolishing Palestinian buildings has been the lack of Israel-issued building permits. These building permits are only attainable once a master-plan has been approved, and are virtually unattainable for Palestinians. In the same period that 18,472 housing units for Israeli-only settlements were sanctioned and built, just 91 of 1,517 building applications were granted to Palestinians. It isn’t a stretch to say that attaining building permits is virtually impossible for a Palestinian who wants to build, even on the land they own.
Please visit our Updates page to keep yourself informed about our efforts to keep the peaceful village of Al Aqaba standing!